Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The Russian military has found in the districts of Aleppo liberated from militants mass graves with mutilated and disfigured bodies. As the official representative of the Ministry of Defence Major General Igor Konashenkov declared on Monday, the results of an inspection of districts of the city “are capable of shocking many”. “Large-scale burials of many dozens of Syrians, who were subjected to barbaric tortures and punishment have been found. Many have missing body parts, the majority were shot in the head,” said
He suggested that it’s “only the beginning”. Konashenkov emphasized that all facts are carefully documented as the heaviest war crimes of terrorists and will be made maximally public, “so that the European patrons of so-called oppositionists in London and Paris are made to realize who actually are their fosterlings, and realize their responsibility for their atrocities”.
As “Interfax” notes, he also reported about seven “huge warehouses” found with ammunition, the arms in which would be enough for several infantry battalions. And in recent days, when the Russian officers brought buses to the districts of Aleppo under the control of militants, the terrorists had mined the territory. “Everything was mined literally, using what time and ammunition they had: streets, entrances to premises, vehicles lying on roads, motorcycles and even children’s toys,” said Konashenkov. “On a tiny patch of urban area three tanks, two guns, two MLRS systems, and an incalculable quantity of self-made mortars and rocket systems were found”.
In addition, the Major General reported that the search for any volunteer-rescuers from the so-called White helmets in East Aleppo wasn’t successful, “who were solemnly accepted in the best hotels of Paris and London and nearly presented a Nobel Peace Prize”.
The head of the research department of Middle Eastern conflicts and armed forces of the region of the Institute For Innovative Development Anton Mardasov noted that East Aleppo since 2012 was controlled by the Syrian armed opposition. Various quarters of the city were seized by many groups, including ISIS or the same “Jabhat al-Nusra”. He assumed that some turncoats, Syrian officers, or Shabiha (the militarized pro-government formations) could be exposed to torture by criminal gangs.
The expert noted that in Syria there is not just a civil war that is going on, but also a sectarian one, and, as is known, it is all sides that were killing and cutting heads, and that various rebel formations also distinguished themselves by “cutting heads”. “That’s why, when Russia intervened in the conflict and now stages actions for filtration, all of this is more rigidly controlled not to allow clashes, because of the brutality of all parties,” said Mardasov.
In turn the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal Otechestva magazine Viktor Murakhovsky reminded of the previous messages of the General Staff and Ministry of Defence, which stated that certain quarters in the city were held by the Nour al-Din al-Zenki group (a part of “Jabhat al-Nusra”). In November this group, which were classified by the West as moderate opposition, declared that its militants were not going to leave Aleppo. Together with this group, Ahrar al-Sham (its members call them “moderate” supporters of terrorists), “Nour al-Din al-Zenki” held thousands of peaceful citizens in eastern quarters of the city and prevented their attempts to leave through the humanitarian corridors designated by the army.
“This quite famous group in Syria are also known for atrocities concerning civilians. Relatively recently they cut off the head of a 12 year-old boy. The events were filmed on a video camera. Judging by the location, the ones who controlled this territory before the evacuation from East Aleppo is precisely this group,” said Murakhovsky to the newspaper VZ.
Concerning mining, after the withdrawal of militants in the city there are still local groups, which could belong to the umbrella coalition group “Jaish Al Fatah”, which is the same as “Al-Nusra”. “They are at war with themselves. Among them can be the absolutely frostbitten. These are local groups, and one and a half weeks ago they made a breakthrough to the Ramouseh area… They don’t agree to negotiations with anybody. It is clear that those groups that are ready to fight to the last, will mine the roads leading in,” said Mardasov.
Speaking about the situation with the absence in the city of the so-called White Helmets, Anton Mardasov noted that they didn’t base their operations in East Aleppo. “The area where they generally work is an area in Idlib, the area outside the ring of Aleppo,” he said.
The expert doesn’t exclude that when the corridor was opened in August, everyone who was able to, including representatives of “White Helmets”, could leave the city. And if representatives of the “White Helmets” were being manipulated by western intelligence agencies, they are unlikely to be in Syria, and it is more logical to assume that they work through the centers in the territory of Turkey and Jordan, as well as working through contacts with regional intelligence services.
“I don’t know, what traces of the “White Helmets” were supposed to be here? Departments, parties, offices? There are no so such ones present in East Aleppo. In East Aleppo, perhaps, the opposition were filming some videos where allegedly the “White Helmets” were helping someone. If such videos were made here, it means that representatives of these organizations had to appear, but they have not been found… Either all these videos were simply propaganda from the opposition, or those remaining in Aleppo simply decided not to advertize their belonging to the “White Helmets”, because those who were surrendering had a lot ot fear… They were afraid to be taken prisoner by the Syrian intelligence services,” Anton Mardasov summed up.
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